Trustmark suspect convicted of two earlier bank robberies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

[3/31/04]The Vicksburg man arrested in Tuesday’s bank heist on Mission 66 had been released six days earlier from a federal prison on a conviction of robbing the same bank and another in 1998.

Local authorities said he’ll be turned over for federal prosecution again. “I don’t want to have to deal with him again,” Vicksburg Police Chief Tommy Moffett said.

Bobby Earl Wilson, 30, was arrested about four minutes after the Trustmark Bank branch at 1020 Mission 66 was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. Moffett said he will ask that Wilson be sent to the correctional facility “where he will get the most time.”

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Wilson was in the Warren County Jail this morning, and no bond had been set, records show. Bank holdups can be prosecuted in state or federal courts.

Wilson had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Feb. 22, 1999, to robbing the same branch on June 17, 1998, and the bank’s branch at 2101 Cherry St. on June 1, 1998.

He was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison followed by three years’ probation. He was released on March 24, federal Bureau of Prisons records show.

Wilson had also been convicted of auto theft, in August 1994 in Warren County Circuit Court. He was given a five-year suspended sentence on that conviction, but his probation was revoked nine months later.

He was sent to a restitution center, from which he escaped. When he was caught in 1995, he was sent to the state penitentiary at Parchman to serve the remainder of his sentence. He was released in August 1997.

Moffett said he was to meet this morning with representatives of the Jackson FBI office to discuss who would prosecute Wilson for Tuesday’s robbery. Moffett said he would ask that the maximum prison sentence be sought for Wilson.

Wilson was captured Tuesday attempting to hide behind a school bus on Hayes Street, about a half-mile southwest of the bank branch. He is believed to have left on foot.

“Officer Leonce Young, assigned to the traffic unit, spotted (Wilson) as he ran southbound on Hayes Street,” police spokesman Davon Grey said. “He was captured by Officer Young at the intersection of Clay and Hayes streets without incident.”

A knife was recovered at the scene, and Grey said it was used in the commission of the crime.

“An undisclosed amount of cash, which was taken during the robbery, was recovered by Vicksburg police detectives,” Grey added. “No one was injured in the robbery.”

In both of the June 1998 robberies, bank personnel were handed threatening notes, police said at the time.